The Best Credit Cards to Use at Costco
Did you know you can get a rebate in the form of bonus miles, points, or cash back that can put money back in your wallet—every time you shop?
Courtesy Million Mile Secrets
If there’s anything we love more than Costco, it’s getting an even better deal at Costco. You probably already know about Costco’s low prices, sales, and membership perks. But did you know you can get a rebate in the form of bonus miles, points, or cash back that can put money back in your wallet—every time you shop?
The best card to use at Costco is the newest Visa card you opened. For example, if you recently got a new card and are working to meet minimum spending requirements, use that card until you earn the sign-up bonus.
Earning lucrative new cardmember sign-up bonuses is the quickest and easiest way to the best return for your spending, no matter what you’re buying. Keep in mind, Costco only accepts Visa cards in-store. For online purchases, you can also use MasterCard or Discover credit cards, but NOT cards issued by American Express. And when you’re not working toward minimum spending on a new card, here are 6 excellent cards to use at Costco to earn more rewards.
US Bank Altitude Reserve
With the US Bank Altitude Reserve card, you can earn 50,000 Altitude Reserve points after spending $4,500 on qualifying purchases within 90 days of account opening.
And you’ll earn:
- 3X points per $1 on travel purchases
- 3X points per $1 on mobile wallet purchases (like Apple Pay or Samsung Pay)
- 1X points on all other purchases
There’s a $400 annual fee with this card, but you’ll get a slew of other perks, including:
- $325 in travel credit every cardmember year
- Complimentary membership to Priority Pass Select airport lounges, with 4 free entries per year for you and 1 guest
- 12 free Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi passes per calendar year
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit of up to $100, available every 4 years
Costco recently added mobile payments at all of their stores. So you can pay with your phone and earn 3 Altitude Reserve points per $1 spent at Costco. Each point you earn is worth 1.5 cents toward travel. So this amounts to 4.5% back (1.5 X 3) when you shop at Costco—and anywhere else that accepts mobile payments. That’s an outstanding return on already good deals! And you can book with any travel provider you like. You do NOT have to book through US Bank to use your points. The annual fee is steep, but I find this card is a keeper—especially now that Costco purchases count for 3X!
Apply Here: US Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card
When you open the Chase Freedom card, you’ll earn a $150 cash bonus (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. And you’ll earn 5% cash back (5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in categories which rotate each quarter when you activate the bonus.
This quarter, October 1 through December 31, 2018, you can earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points at department stores and wholesale clubs, including Costco! Past quarters have included grocery stores, mobile payments, and other popular shopping categories. This is an incredible return on regular spending from a card with no annual fee! I’ve already treated myself to a new flannel for a chilly fall, and, of course, a $5 rotisserie chicken. These are the items you aren’t buying from Costco but should be.
Apply Here: Chase Freedom®
Read our review of the Chase Freedom
The information for the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Capital One Venture
When you sign-up for the Capital One Venture card, you can earn 50,000 Venture miles (worth $500 in travel) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. If you want to earn straightforward miles you can easily redeem to save on travel, you might consider using the Capital One Venture card at Costco.
With this card, you’ll earn 2 Venture miles per $1 you spend on all purchases. Venture miles are worth 1 cent each when you redeem them toward eligible travel purchases. You just have to pay for travel expenses (like airfare, hotel stays, parking, and much more) with your credit card. Then, log into your account and “erase” the charge by redeeming your miles!
Apply Here: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Read our review of the Capital One Venture
Citi Costco Visa Card
Folks looking to earn straightforward cash back might consider the Citi Costco Visa card. With this card, you’ll earn 2% cash back on purchases at Costco and Costco.com.
You’ll also earn:
- 4% cash back on on the first $7,000 of purchases each annual reward period (1% thereafter) of gasoline at Costco and gas stations worldwide (excluding superstores, supermarkets, convenience stores, and warehouse clubs other than Costco)
- 3% cash back at restaurants & bars worldwide
- 3% cash back for eligible travel purchases including airfare, hotel stays (excluding timeshares, banquets, and events), car rentals, and purchases from Costco Travel
- 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
This card has no annual fee if you have a paid Costco membership. The only drawback with this card is you can only redeem your cash back rewards as a check once per year. So if you cancel the card for any reason before receiving the cash back, you’ll lose all the rewards you’ve earned. And some folks prefer the option to redeem cash back rewards at the end of each billing cycle. Check out these travel packages you can only buy through Costco.
Apply Here: Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi
Read our review of the Citi Costco Visa card
Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom Unlimited card earns 1.5% cash back (1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on every purchase with no spending caps, including at Costco! So you don’t have to think about registering for bonus categories. You can only redeem the points you earn with the Freedom Unlimited for 1 cent each for cash back or towards travel. So this card is mostly worthwhile if you can pair it with another premium Chase card to access travel transfer partners, like Hyatt and United Airlines. This way, your points are usually worth much more. Or if you redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for airfare, hotels, or rental cars through the Chase travel portal, they’re worth more after you combine them, too!
On its own, the Chase Freedom Unlimited only earns 1.5% cash back, which is decent for a card with no annual fee. But you can do better by pairing it with another Chase card, or choosing another card on this list. Don’t miss these other secrets Costco employees won’t tell you.
Apply Here: Chase Freedom Unlimited
The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited® has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Discover it® Cash Back
Folks who shop online can do well with the no annual fee Discover it card. Remember, you can NOT use Discover cards in-store at Costco, but you can use them online. With the Discover it® Cash Back, enroll every quarter to earn a 5% cash back bonus in categories that change each quarter throughout the year, on up to $1,500 in purchases. And your cash back is matched at the end of your first card year.
Through December 31, 2018, you can earn 5% cash back at wholesale clubs, including Costco! Just remember to log-in to your account to activate the bonus before you start your shopping.
And for new cardmembers, Discover will match the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first 12 billing cycles. So any purchases you made in the 5% bonus categories will get you 10% cash back. That’s an excellent return for a card with no annual fee. And getting 10% back from a Costco trip is a nice reward! Next, read about the things you should never, ever buy at Costco.
Apply Here: Discover it® Cash Back
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